It’s something we’ve all heard: when you have an older dog and you get a younger dog (like a puppy), the older dog will teach the puppy a lot. This is very true, dogs do teach one another. I have seen my Potcake, Flipflop, teach my fosters.
It sounds pretty simple, you have a well trained dog, you introduce a younger dog into your home. You fully expect once the two dogs get acquainted the older dog (or in my case the permanent one) starts teaching the other dog. It’s actually really cool to watch a dog who has never played before learn to play! Dahlia (my senior rescue) is just catching onto how to properly play and she’s SO excited, as am I.
But what I always forget and sadly get reminded of is, the young dog will also teach the older dogs a few things too. My best friend described it best, when she said she felt like her puppy was reminding her then 3 year old dog how fun it is to misbehave!
I never really gave this situation much thought before, as Flipflop is only 3 and still a big goof ball in his own right. So having him wrestle or get into mischief with some of the younger fosters doesn’t really phase me.
But what happened last night sure reminded me about the reverse teachings of a younger dog to an older one.
My current foster Lucy used to be very nervous on leash when I got her, she would bark at everyone and every dog we walked by. Of course with a lot treats and training, she is getting over this. She no longer barks at people at all, and is about 80% there with not barking at dogs. I’m really proud of her, not only because she is learning to relax and trust, but she would also get Flipflop & Dahlia to bark with her.
Last night, I was walking Dahlia on her own, and she saw a dog. Normally an event that would not even be noticed. However, last night Dahlia delighted in barking at the dog and behaving much like Lucy used to! And then I realized the inevitable, Lucy taught Dahlia to bark at other dogs while walking on her leash!
Reminding me, as I’m reminding you, you can certainly teach an old dog! 🙂